Attempted fix to development bill misunderstood
March 18, 2014 12:00 AM | 1507 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Your March 12 editorial on SB 353 was sadly misinformed. This bill was variously and nefariously connected by some to the Braves stadium, the Falcons stadium and the John Williams projects when no such connection ever existed. This bill was drafted two years before those projects ever reached the public spotlight.

SB 353 did nothing to expand tax exemptions for hotels, motels, office buildings and other similar projects. Those projects are authorized in two state code sections and SB 353 simply deleted one reference — the oldest — to eliminate confusion over which section applies in bond hearings.

Secondly, the law designates the district attorney as the attorney of record for bond validations. Some attorneys insist that the DA personally sit through hours upon hours of bond validation hearings. What a waste of taxpayer resources since DAs are criminal prosecutors with little practical experience in arcane bond law. SB 353 simply clarified that a DA is not required to attend these proceedings.

Finally, SB 353 clarified that a Superior Court bond validation is final. It did not prevent citizens from protesting bond issues nor remove their appellate rights. It clarified for bond purchasers that once a Superior Court validation ruling is affirmed upon appeal that the bonds they buy from local entities are valid and their lender rights are preserved. That’s all this provision did.

It did not change the current law affecting school boards. It did not expand developer benefits at the expense of taxpayers. SB 353 touched none of the things your editorial suggested. It simply cleaned up some confusing, contradictory provisions in law.

Robert J. Shaw


Development Authority of Fulton County

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